It seemed, for a while at least, as if “Y: The Last Man,” the mind-blowing comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, was going to have as painfully protracted a lurch towards the big screen as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen.” It has had several sets of creative teams on the adaptation, most notably (and lengthily) the “Disturbia” team of director D.J. Caruso, Shia LaBeouf (as titular last man Yorich) and screenwriter Carl Ellsworth, who structured the project as the beginning of a trilogy, citing the massive scope and scale of the 60-issue comic series. Other screenwriters and directors followed and then fell away (we read a compelling draft by Vaughan that ended in a tantalizing cliffhanger) until last March, when New Line Cinema (now a glorified production shingle under Warner Bros, which also owns Vertigo Comics and DC Comics) got serious about the property – assigning a new set of screenwriters, Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, and putting “Dark Knight” architect David Goyer on the case as producer. Well, looks like they’ve nabbed a director and he’s… nobody you’ve ever heard of.
Following in the footsteps of Caruso and Louis Letterier (who conceived of the project as a large-scale TV series) comes… Dan Trachtenberg. The announcement on Deadline says that Trachtenberg has a “commercials background,” and he directed some kind of crazy short film inspired by the videogame “Portal” (which you can watch below). Since we’ve played about fifteen minutes of “Portal” total (and found it confusing, although Stephen Merchant plays a helpful robot), the short film means very little to us, and even if we had, it doesn’t dazzle us the way that short films like the ones that launched the careers of Neil Blomkamp and “Mama” director Andy Muschietti have before. In short: having not read the new script and not knowing if Trachtenberg can carry it visually, we’re very, very worried.
“Y: The Last Man,” which ran for sixty glorious issues, tells the story of Yorich and his pet monkey Ampersand, after a worldwide “gender-cide” kills every mammal that carries a Y-chromosome. It’s really exciting stuff, and fun to watch Yorich (who’s kind of a dope), his monkey, and their allies (including a mysterious secret agent named 355) traverse a world that is totally transformed by this singular event. Vaughan is a genius and ‘Y’ might be his magnum opus – full of truly heady thrills but also, particularly in the closing issues, a kind of raw emotionality that left us both gasping and crying during every issue. It’s truly the shit.
We hope that New Line, Goyer, and the rest of the team know what they’re doing assigning Trachtenberg to the project. We’re thrilled there’s finally a lot of propulsive forward movement on the property, we just kind of wish that someone more experienced and mature could have taken on the project. Hey, Mark Romanek’s free now…